What New York is like: II
Where I live the sidewalks are spotted. The grey cement is covered in old pieces of gum. Enough to say that it is spotted. T
here are more people walking around than anywhere else I’ve ever been. And they do not care about you. They will run into you, because YOU are in the way. And after you get hit so many times, or ran into, or rammed into like a football player, you stop saying excuse me, you stop trying to move out of peoples way and you do the same thing. You walk without caring if you hit someone. The only people who say they are sorry are tourists. And every tourist has an accent.
“Free” actually means “contributions welcomed, or please don’t take it.” Singers and the like stand by the larger parks (Bryant, Central) and by large areas of shopping (columbus circle) and offer you their CD for free. They are an up and coming artist, they have a flyer to tell you when their next gig is and if you bother to reach out and take the CD they are practically forcing into your hand and keep walking, you immediately have a stalker. “let me autograph that for you!” And they follow you until you stop, and they talk to you about the CD while they ask your name and sign the case and ask for a contribution of “any” kind as well. They will take a dollar, they will also try to make you feel guilty about offering only one dollar until you give them five. I’ve never given them money for a CD. Sam did, once. He was in a really good mood. The reason I haven’t bothered with these CD’s are because I can tell from the way these people look, and the cover art of their CD, and the names of the songs–that I won’t like any of it. I am not their market. And I’ve told them this a few times. Sometimes they try to convince me it’s for “all people mamma” which gets and eye roll and “I’m not ‘yo mamma'” or they just stop because they know I’m right. I am not their market.
Other people want you to sign up for things like a free cut and color and gloss and wash and style and I don’t know, but it’s a 300$ thing, for only 75$, But I have to pay it TODAY and I”ll get a receipt. Just give me your card or brochure. I’m still not your market. You’ve stopped me on my way to work to insult the color and cut of my hair and based on how I’m dressed you should know I don’t have more than 10$ to my name. No credit cards either. Then they act all surprised. I stare at them like they are stupid and remind them I’m not the person they are looking for, and I move on with a “take care.”
You can buy almost anything at a fold out table outside the shops you’re going into. In major shopping areas (Herald Square, Times Square, Columbus Circle and other shapes as well) there are men and women selling you stuff on tables. Kid books, DVD, Purses, pashminas, video games, sunglasses, jewelry, hats, gloves, and shoes. Raw Cocoa butter, perfume, stuffed animals, lotions, oils, drawings, paintings, magnets and more. There are also people offering their services to you as an artist drawing a characature of you in the big city etc. It’s all very oooo and aaah, and inexpensive. These people are not to be bargained with, the prices are set. It’s not like at a swap meet, or a yard sale. The price is clear on their cardboard sign stating “DVD’s 5 and up” They are also, clearly marked with a price tag. There are a few people here and there not fortunate enough to have a table, and there stuff they offer is set on a blanket on the sidewalk. The reason, I’m told, they do this is because it is illegal. When walking by them there’s no one really standing right there, but if you stop to look suddenly a ninja dressed as a semi-homeless person is telling you the price. There are only a few options on the blanket sells. They are never really worth stopping for.
Soliciting seems to be acceptable in all areas other than big corporate places, and sometimes they sneak in there anyway. So, any nail place or unisex hair place, laundromat or bodega is likely at some point to have someone walk in offering stuff to sell from their big duffle bag. Movies, toothpaste, toothbrushes, pens, stuff like that. I’ve never purchased anything from them either. I imagine it is convenient for some people on the train or the crowded McDonalds to purchase 3 DVD they didn’t have before from the stranger slyly offering from his duffle–but I’m just not into that. Yet. heh.